Game 30: Michigan at Wisconsin Preview

Dylan Burkhardt

: Michigan (18-11) at Wisconsin (17-10)
Where: Kohl Center, Madison, WI
When: Sunday, Feb 28th, 2 PM ET
: Wisconsin by 8
Preview: Stat Sheet, U-M KenPom Profile, Wisconsin KenPom Profile
: MGoBlue, WWJ-AM (950), WTKA-AM (1050)
Last Time:
Preview / Recap

The first time these two teams met, Wisconsin gave Michigan a stern reminder about how basketball is played in the Big Ten. Wisconsin shredded the Michigan defense and rode their hot shooting (eFG% of 65.2%) to a 12 point win in a game they led for 40 minutes. These two teams have both been through quite a bit and seen their fair share of ups and downs  in the 59 days since their first battle.

Wisconsin has had a tumultuous conference season that has seen both a six game losing streak and a five game winning streak. Despite looking like they were toast at the end of January the Badgers now look like they are a good bet to make the NCAA tournament. Michigan on the other hand continues to fight for an NCAA berth and their Thursday night effort against Purdue was arguably their most inspired of the year. Michigan needs to bring the same kind of effort and intensity to the Kohl Center if they want to steal one.

Wisconsin plays painfully slow basketball and they grind teams up with their methodical swing offense. The Badgers’ offense has been very efficient this season, in conference play they are scoring 1.07 points per possession which is good for third in the league. Wisconsin holds onto the ball better than anyone else in the conference so don’t expect many turnovers. They are also a very solid shooting team, they shoot 36.8% from long range and 48.3% from two point range. They don’t do anything else exceptionally well on offense but they don’t have many glaring weaknesses either.

On defense Wisconsin will try to overwhelm Michigan with their size. They aren’t exactly UConn but they throw a lot of big bodies at you. Guys like Krabbenhoft, Nankivil, Jarmusz, and Landry are all in that 6-foot-7 mold where they can play all over the court.  Wisconsin does a great job of not leaving their feet to commit a foul, they play body position defense and take your space away rather than blocking your shot. You can bet that they will cram the lane in an effort to prevent easy looks.

In the first game the Michigan offense didn’t have much going besides Zack Novak who had 20 points. Peedi had an efficient 14 points on 6 shots but Manny Harris struggled and only scored 9 points on 3 of 13 shooting. Laval Lucas-Perry scored 11 points but he struggled on defense all game. Michigan clearly is going to need to get a solid performance out of DeShawn Sims and Manny Harris, those two guys are the ones that make this offense go, especially on the road.

The biggest change from the first game will be the lineups. LLP played 30 minutes in the first match-up and I would expect to see him play closer to 8 minutes in this one. Stu Douglass has stepped his game up over the last 7 games and is averaging 9.7 ppg and shooting 43.5% from long range. I would also expect to continue to see a lot of CJ Lee because his defense will be needed against Trevon Hughes. Hughes absolutely torched Michigan in the first game and hit a ton of big shots, especially late in the shot clock.

The key for Michigan is going to figuring out a way to get stops. To give you an idea of how well Wisconsin played on offense in the first game, they scored 1.24 points per possession. Michigan had one of their best offensive performances of the year against Purdue and they only scored 1.22 points per possession. The encouraging part is that Michigan’s defense has seemed to improve lately, mostly since the insertion of CJ Lee into the lineup.

It’s hard to like Michigan’s chances in this one. The Kohl Center is a tough place to play and Wisconsin has been on a roll (won 5 of last 6). The Badgers did slip up to Texas, Minnesota, and Purdue at home but it’s going to take Michigan’s ‘A+’ game to earn a win in Madison. Wisconsin has a veteran team and they have been here before, I’m not expecting anything but their best.  Pomeroy gives Michigan a 20% chance at the upset and picks the Badgers by 7, Vegas is even less forgiving and predicts an 8 point margin.

Let’s hear your thoughts, predictions, and in-game posts in the comments. No live blog for this one, they are clearly bad luck.

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  • AG2

    I’d rather hughes go to the line than hit a dagger 3.

  • AG2

    Wow, just wow. Sims pretty much cost us the game.

  • That might be just a little harsh AG2… He made some very questionable decisions but I don’t think he “lost us the game”.

  • AG2

    Yeah, I’m just frustrated because he had no business taking those 3s. In any case, I hope the Big Ten realizes that if they don’t start calling fouls games in the 40s and 50s will continue.

  • Erik

    Well I didn’t expect to win this game, and I thought it would be a wider margin than this. Maybe that’s why this loss is so tough.

    This one stings.

  • bentley

    I don’t mind sims 3’s especially the first one, the second one was a little out of rhythm. I thought CJ pretty much lost us the game on a couple fronts. He played awful defense, Hughes got anything he wanted all day. Second his offense was less than spectacular. I thought he didnt run the offense and distribute the ball very well other than a nice bounce pass to sims. oh well, we get a week off and its again backs to the wall

  • UMQuasi

    Well, it is disappointing to lose a big game that we certainly had a chance to win. I am, however, more confident than ever that we’ll win in Minnesota. It’s against a team worse than Wisco, at an arena that is not as menacing, with a week’s rest.

    The Minnesota game may be a play-in game. We’ll find out next weekend just how big of a factor the rest between games is. Since the beginning of the final stretch of 6 games, the results have fallen right in line with the days of rest. 5 games ago, I had this game written off as a loss, so to come close (especially with Wisconsin having a week of prep time) is better than expected.

    The updated records are 14-2 with 3+ days of rest and 4-11 with 0-2 days rest. Let’s hope that trend continues

  • IX

    Pretty accurate prediction on the outcome of the game made by me at 2:27AM earlier this morning.

    The Minnesota game is the biggest game in Michigan Basketball since the 1993 title game, in my opinion, considering what has happened the last 16 years to this program. Win, and we only need to win the first BTT game to get in. Lose, and we’ll need at least 2 wins in the BTT to get in.

    We have a full 5 days starting tomorrow to fix any problems and prepare for the Gophers. I really hope the team is ready for the challenge ahead.

  • jmblue

    Good call. One nitpick: we’ve lost 12 games overall, not 13.

  • Avery Queen

    That 2nd 3 by Sims was definitely stupid but Manny also should have tried to blow by Krabbenhoft again. I thought Sims had a very good performance and hard to be critical of one bad decision.

    Bottom line is we just can’t close on the road. I don’t know what it takes to do it but we don’t have it. Got 5 days to figure it out.

  • Sid

    We didn’t play bad. In fact, the first half had to rank as one of our better ones all year. Poor shot selection did us in early in the second half – and Wiconsin are just tough sumnabitches. Ryan’s a great coach.

  • Jay

    Why does Belein leave Novak in all game like he is the most valuable piece to the puzzle? Novak is all heart and hustle, and right now he is not giving us anything outside of that. I love the kid competitive spirit and basketball IQ, but I still cant figure this out

  • MLAWyer

    Merritt really gave us nothing while he was in the game, no idea why he was in.

    Gibson was in for at least part of our run in the first half. I thought he was doing well. I still dont understand why we don’t use him more against big teams.

    I know Beilein has really raised the program this year, but the fact that we settled for those 3-pointers in the last two minutes is not good coaching. I’m sure I’ll take some heat for saying that, but that has to be at least partially on him.

  • Giddings

    So who do we want to win the Wisconsin at Minny game on Wednesday?

    If Wisconsin wins, it looks like they’ll finish 11-7 in the conference, with Minny dropping to 8-9. At that point you’d think that Minny is in the same position as us, absolutely needing a win on Saturday. It would be Senior Day for them with their backs against the wall, but if we win that would clearly put us ahead of Minny in the pecking order.

    If Minny wins, they go to 9-8 and Wisconsin likely finishes 10-8. In this case, Minny would feel a lot more comfortable about their chances to get in the Tourney, although people will still probably call the game against us a “must-win”. Also, even if we win, there will be some considerable debate as to who the “7th team in” from the Big Ten should be.

  • gpsimms

    rlc, it was hyperbole, i guess…my point was gibson gets a lot of fouls. most on the team, apparently, thanks for looking it up and confirming my point.

  • Sid

    I thought the first 3 from Sims was fine, though he’s not necessarily the guy you want taking it. The second was inexplicable, and I have a hard time believing Beilein was happy about it or encouraged it. What surprised me was that we didn’t take a TO before that to set something up.

  • Avery Queen

    Jay: Who would you play instead? Shepherd? Wright? Those names sound like profanity next to Novak.

    I also think down the stretch it was evident that we either tried to get the ball to Sims down low or have Manny take Krabbenhoft off the dribble. We got screwed on a no call and Sims made some decisions Beilein clearly didn’t approve of. Don’t think you can fault Beilein too much. He can’t force the players to make the right decisions and those decisions are exactly why we don’t close teams out on the road.

  • gpsimms

    first of all, let’s remember what wisco did to us on our court. I was expecting a blowout today, all of the metrics we’ve looked at earlier this year were pointing to blowout as well: road+quick turnover after a good game+backs not against wall+worst matchup for us in the B10=should have been worse than it was.

    The good overall effort, to me, indicates how far this team has come this year. I know most people think that after the ‘hot start’ this might be a disappointing position to be in, but I honestly believe this team has improved a lot during the B10 season. Today’s effort means to me the Purdue game was not a spike in performance, but that we are actually better!

    Now, poor shots from DeShawn, I agree…but you definitely can’t blame Beilein. Krabbenhoft really stepped up the d on Manny in the second half, and the reffing didn’t help either. After two iso-type plays for Manny, and Manny’s getting mauled twice, and not getting a call, then I guess you can’t try to set Manny up to drive anymore, right? What would you do? I guarantee you, Manny was not going to get a call from the ref in the last 2 minutes.

    Anyway, this game was leaps and bounds better than the one in AA, and I think we’re set up to win the Minny game. backs against the wall+long prep+decent matchup for us+less difficult road environment=we can win.